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My View: Counting the days until my yearly physical

By Joe Sullivan

One day you nonchalantly turn a corner and discover you’re at 65th and Old (well, not old, let’s just say 65th and Mature, although you might get an argument from my wife).

You may ask yourself, “How did I get here? And so quickly! Seems as though I was just at 18th and Naive.”

A torrent of snapshots floods in and flickers through your mind. Little League, First Communion, the Bills, graduation, first love, the Bills, college fun, wedding day, kids, T-ball, the Bills, concerts, work, work, work, graduations, the Bills, grandkids, retirement (not quite yet, my friend), dreaming of retirement, yearly physical, the Bills.

Wait a minute, back up. You have pictures of your yearly physical? What are you, some kind of weirdo?

No, I don’t have any photos of my annual anatomical analysis and yes I am a weirdo. Actually I did have pictures but my doctor’s bodyguard confiscated them and broke my camera.

Joe Sullivan.

Ah yes, the once a year exposure of my bad habits, aka the winter of my discontent, aka my annual physical examination, complete with probing, fluid testing and clean underwear.

First mistake I always make is scheduling it during the holiday season, when my blood sugar spirals off the chart, my cholesterol soars higher than a kite and my belly spills way over the belt. The constant ingesting of eggnog, cookies and beer is no way to prepare for the annual intrusion.

This particular year it seems as though I have hatched some sort of knob, albeit a modest knob, upon the topography of my back. If I mention it, there goes the free physical, right out the window. You see, if you call attention to a problem it will require a diagnosis and a diagnosis leads to a surcharge.

So when the doctor asks you, “anything wrong?” He is, in essence, just baiting the trap. And why, you may ask? It’s because he wants to go to Aruba and needs the extra dough to get the platinum suite at Club Med. Hmmm, cheapskate that I am, I immediately rationalize, “Well, if he’s any kind of doctor he should be able to make the discovery for himself. If he doesn’t bring it up then neither will I.”

Heart rate – check. Reflexes – uhhhh, check. Height – shrunk again. Breathing – check. Toe touching – forget it. Throat – check. Hernia – check. Prostate – wait a minute, hold on, could you just wait a minute, I’m not ready, aarrgghh – check. The results – I’m a fat guy and aspiring diabetic.

“In conclusion,” the doc says, “Everything looks pretty good. Drop 15 pounds, lay off the sugar and I’ll see you in a year.” Ah, what a perfect New Year’s resolution – Again!

So all in all, it appears as though there’s still some tread on the tire. A bit of rust here and there. A few dysfunctional accessories. Radio still works. No more need for the lighter (wait a minute, isn’t New York State legalizing marijuana?).

It’s encouraging to get a fairly clean bill of health and recognize those elusive improvements are within your grasp. I dashed home, threw down a couple of stalks of celery, washed them down with some beet juice (Yuck!), packed a bag and headed for the gym. All the while, Bob Dylan’s “May you stay, forever young” and Gord Downie/Tragically Hip’s “No dress rehearsal, this is our life,” played in my head.

Joe Sullivan, who lives in Kenmore, considers himself 65 and mature, mostly.

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